Sometimes the simplest product is the best. Ranger beads are not necessarily a necessity however they certainly make keeping track of distance significantly easier. Ranger beads work on a simple concept. There are 10 beads on the lower end of a length of cord and several more higher. For every 100m you move one bead high or low depending on your system. Once you’ve moved 10 of these you’ve traveled 1000m (kilometer) and you then move one of the higher beads to signify that you’ve traveled a kilometer. It may seem simplistic but in practice it can be a lifesaver when you’re rucking through very harsh terrain, as it eases some of that mental power that would otherwise be preoccupied.
Sanctified Weaving Company has put their own spin on the classic ranger beads with their Sanctified Adventure Tool (SAT) Woodsman. The cordage is made of neutral colored 550 cord with a dull red main cord. The cord isn’t so bright that it attracts attention. At the end of the cord is a small ferro rod. I had many reservations about the small ferro rod until I had a chance to actual use it in a variety of situations. The ferro rod, with the correct technique, will light any tinder as long as you understand and use the ferro rod correctly (there are many “correct” ways). I was worried that the ferro rod would become disconnected but no such event ever occurred as of this writing. It is quite secure.
I’ve had the chance to take the SAT Woodsman to a variety of terrain and environments. From the Arctic to temperate forests and down to scorching desert. In all areas it performed flawlessly. It’s a fairly simplistic tool, but a needed one. If you are looking for a simple combination ranger bead / ferro rod I couldn’t recommend it more. The Sanctified Weaving Company makes some great products and they stand behind what they make. And it retails at about 10 bucks! Easy peace of mind.